British first ascents in Torugart-too

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 03/10/2010
Mur Samir, Torugart-too. John Proctor

John Proctor, Adam Russell and Robert Taylor from Edinburgh University have returned from a successful expedition to Kyrghyzstan, picking up three first ascents in the little known mountains of the Torugart-too.

Only two main summits in this region of alpine peaks appear to top the 5,000m mark. Barney Harford and Pat Littlejohn, on an ISM Expedition to the region in 2007, climbed the highest, which they named Mustyr (5,108m). Proctor and Taylor were able to climb the other.

The snowy peak, 5,008m on the Russian map, lies at the head of an unnamed valley to the east of Mustyr. The two climbers followed the North East Ridge at AD, recording a GPS altitude of 5,035m on the summit.

They named the peak Mur Samir. Mur is a Kyrghyz word for marmot - the range is overrun by these rodents - while the full name is a play on words; Mir Samir is a peak in the Nuristan region of Afghanistan, made famous by Eric Newby in his classic book, ' A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush'.

Russell and Taylor then climbed a summit on the ridge directly north of Mustyr via the North Ridge (PD+), naming it Karyshkyr (Kyrghyz for 'wolf': 4,820m on the map). Wolves were giving local nomads a lot of trouble and the British team had to take precautions to stop them visiting base camp.

Finally, Proctor and Russell moved west and attempted Pik 4,850m above the Teke-Lutor Glacier. Approaching from the west, they climbed a nice snow and ice route at AD, only to find they were on a subsidiary summit, the true peak some distance away along a difficult ridge that they had neither time nor gear to attempt.

The first known expedition to this area was organized by ISM in 2007, the group climbing five of the major summits. In 2008 an Anglo-Greek party explored more minor peaks either side of the approach valley, making seven ascents.

The Edinburgh University expedition was supported by a MC of S Bursary/Sport Scotland and the Scottish Mountaineering Trust/Sang Award. Another British team, supported by both the MEF and BMC, visited the same area shortly after and reportedly climbed three more virgin peaks. Their story will be recorded here in the future.

The photograph shows the view south up the unnamed glacier. Mur Samir is the snowy peak at the head, climbed by the left skyline.



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